During the 2016 Elections, Hillary Clinton was quick to criticize Donald Trump on his business practices and often referenced his failure as a casino owner as evidence that he was inadequate as a leader. Hillary’s speeches on Donald Trump’s failed casino is still echoed to this day when opponents are looking to bash the President of the United States. But was everything that Trump did for Atlantic City, and New Jersey, proven a failure?
Trump’s History as a Casino Owner
Donald Trump first came to New Jersey in 1982 with a vision to open world-class gambling institutions. He received his gaming license in New Jersey from the Casino Control Commission and spent the better part of the next two decades acquiring a number of casinos in Atlantic City, almost all of which were eventually sold or declared bankrupt. His first casino opened in 1984 under the name Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. In April 1990, the Trump Taj Majal opened as the world’s largest casino-hotel complex, joining Trump’s other holdings already operating in Atlantic City, the Trump Plaza and Trump’s Castle. He also had ownership stakes in Trump Marina, Trump World’s Fair, and Trump Casino. In 1995, Trump established Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (THCR). Six months later, the Taj Majal defaulted on interest payments to bondholders. In July 1991, Trump’s Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy, the first and most significant of the four that his companies have experienced. Over the course of the next two decades, THCR would declare bankruptcy three more times in 2004, 2009 and 2014. THCR changed its name to Trump Entertainments Resorts (TER) after the 2004 bankruptcy.
Through TER, Trump was instrumental in pushing for online casino gaming to be legalized in New Jersey. While his casino endeavors may not have been entirely successful in Atlantic City, his legacy does live on in the thriving online casino markets. Just look at the Samsung & Iphone microgaming online casinos list to confirm that the industry is booming. This is not a failure by any stretch of the imagination.
Clinton often focused on the Atlantic City casinos, whose bankruptcy has been highly publicized, and how Trump’s judgment hurt local people and businesses. She also indicated that Trump refused to pay contractors and that he frequently had legal battles.
Clinton also made claims that Trump:
- Repeatedly enriched himself at the expense of others
- Hundreds of people lost jobs
- Shareholders were wiped out
- Lenders lost money
- Contractors took heavy losses
It’s not the first time we’ve seen Donald Trump bust his companies either. Here are a few more examples.
A central argument of Trump’s candidacy was that he would bring the same business prowess to the Oval Office; doing for America what he did for his companies. After all, he did not see his time in New Jersey as a failure, as he, personally, made millions of dollars. In three interviews with The New York Times, Trump acknowledged that high debt and lagging revenues had plagued his casinos. He repeatedly emphasized that what really mattered about his time in Atlantic City was that he had made a lot of money there. However, he never was able to draw in enough gamblers to support the borrowing he had to do to run the casinos and stock and bondholders lost more than $1.5 billion.
Investors were not the only ones who allegedly lost money. According to a class-action lawsuit, filed by employees against Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Trump’s company encouraged its employees to invest their retirement savings in company stock. Then the company forced the employees to sell their stock at a huge loss. More than 400 employees claim to have lost a total of more than $2 million from their retirement accounts. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed when a judge found no illegal actions on the part of Trump’s company. While his employees did suffer, it was founded that a committee that managed the Trump employee retirement accounts, with which Trump had no personal involvement, provided ill advice to the employees. They were, however, free to make their own choices.
Trump managed to keep a $2 million annual salary after the company emerged from bankruptcy, in 2004, and took in more than $44 million in compensation over the course of the 14 years he served as chairman of THCR.
Trump had said repeatedly that he left Atlantic City at the perfect time. He feels his time spent there was successful, as he employed thousands in a struggling city, as well as generating tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Another state that Trump considered Casino ventures in included Connecticut, however, he and then Governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr. did not see eye-to-eye, and Trump eventually gave up hopes of building a casino in Bridgeport. Foxwoods, a Native American owned and operated corporation, would end up becoming a casino powerhouse in later years.
Clinton still maintains to this day that Trump is unfit as the President. She has said numerous times that he feels that we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world. This would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we have ever experienced, from a fiscally responsible standpoint.
There are also many who think that Clinton is still campaigning against Trump. While the 2016 race is well over, the 2020 Presidential elections are not all that far away. Clinton is considered the closest thing to an incumbent the office has. She’s also got numerous advantages, from name recognition to campaign experience to an off-the-shelf cabinet, that could give her a head start, in perhaps a successful run at the POTUS seat. She has the funds to make a stab at the position again, as money is not an issue. Some donors will, of course, resist Clinton at first, since this would be her third attempt at winning the election, but any Democratic nominee can count on having unlimited funds at their feet to run against Trump. One thing we know for certain, whether she runs for President again or not, Clinton is not going away any time soon and will always have a profound hatred for Donald Trump.